Dr Alexander Massmann from Cambridge University will give an open lecture and lead a discussion exploring the topic - "Biohacking and Christian ethics: Gene editing and human dignity".
How should we feel about “biohackers” who modify genes to increase their own intelligence and athletic ability, or to compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle? This raises ethical questions such as how do we regard ourselves, our bodies and our role in society? What do we mean by well-being, and what is our attitude to sickness and disability?
Dr Massmann will discuss some of the social and ethical questions that arise from the dialogue between genetics, medical science and theology. While gene editing has many applications that are clearly beneficial, we still need to set some ethical boundaries. To what extent is it justifiable to change our own genetic composition and that of other organisms on the planet?
The presentation will show that a constructive debate between medical science and the faith traditions can highlight a range of important social challenges that need to be explored. There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion after the talk.
Dr Massmann is a postdoctoral researcher in theology and science at the University of Cambridge. He is particularly interested in the interface between theology and evolutionary biology. His bioethical work on gene editing addresses a particularly topical issue that is in the news almost every week.
The open lecture and discussion will take place on Monday 25 March from 7.30pm – 8.45pm at Trinity Meeting Place, Essex St., Norwich NR2 2BL. All are welcome; no booking is required. There will be a (voluntary) retiring collection. The meeting is organised by Science and Faith in Norfolk (SFN), a Norwich-based group which aims to explore the broad interface between science and religious belief.